As many as 50 million Americans live with pain every day. It is an issue for persons in recovery from injury, those who suffer from chronic back pain, persons who have been diagnosed with terminal diseases, and the elderly. The causes of persistent, chronic pain are many. Chronic pain can be mild to severe and is above all else, subjective. Because pain is the primary symptom that motivates patients to seek medical care, the importance of pain management in nursing cannot be overestimated. One of the most in-demand specializations in the field, pain management nursing is the primary way the medical establishment helps patients deal with ongoing, chronic pain.
What is a Pain Management Nurse?
According to the American Society for Pain Management Nursing, the role of a pain management nurse is to restore patients suffering from chronic pain to a state in which they can comfortably resume some, if not all, normal functioning for as long as medically possible. A certified pain management nurse will frequently work with terminal patients and elderly patients during end of life care.
The idea of managing pain is fairly straightforward and easy to understand. Nurses are familiar with anesthetics and understand that many if not most medical procedures would be impossible without powerful drugs designed to kill pain. But many people still wonder, what is pain management in nursing?
Because pain is highly subjective, managing the chronic pain of patients requires that someone should always be nearby who is sufficiently trained to offer pain management. Nurses are always present in hospital settings, and they have already exhibited an aptitude and a willingness to attend to the ongoing needs of patients. For this reason, nurses are ideal to receive pain management training.
What Does a Pain Management Nurse Do?
The job of the pain management nurse is to assess the patient’s pain and work with doctors and the healthcare team to recommend and deliver pain management treatments to the patient.
The pain management nurse helps develop a pain management plan for the patient, administers and oversees the administration of pain management treatments. Beyond that, pain management nurses can educate patients on how to treat their own pain safely. They also keep detailed records of the work they do.
A pain management nurse is a registered nurse who specializes in caring for patients suffering from chronic pain. Pain management nurses are trained to be experts in the management of pain through techniques and interventions designed to alleviate the patient’s pain experience.
The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) introduced standards in 2001 for healthcare providers to use to assess and manage pain. These include everything from managing the basic comfort of the patient to administering opioids. With the rise of opioid addiction, nonaddictive pain treatments for pain were introduced. These include acupuncture, chiropractic care, vitamin therapy, and more.
How to Become a Pain Management Nurse
Because pain is highly subjective, and because pain management techniques can be addictive and dangerous when misapplied, those who wish to become a pain management nurse must obtain extensive specialized training.
Like the majority of nursing specializations, pain management nurses must obtain an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Once you have completed a nursing program you will be required to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Many, however, are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, including Nurse Practitioners.
The NCLEX is a national standardized examination designed for the licensure of nurses. In the US and Canada.
Those who wish to further their studies can obtain one of the following;
- Master’s Degree in Nursing
- Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
- Doctor of Nursing Practice
How Much Do Pain Management Nurses Earn
According to Glassdoor.com, the average pain management nurse practitioner’s salary is 117,292. A pain management nurse practitioner salary is between $105,000 and $138,000 per year.
After obtaining your pain management nurse practitioner certification, you can look forward to being in high demand in the medical field and bringing much-needed relief to patients who desperately need it.